Years ago, while free-falling 75 feet from the side of an NCL Cruise ship, I wasn’t exactly focused on whether or not a law suit might be appropriate. I was more focused on surfacing and surviving. And I did. A nod to heaven on that front. But the residual long term effects on my lower back — yeah, flat on my back from that height — have begun to raise their ugly, painful, “remember me?” little heads with more frequency twenty-some years later. I’m still opposed to litigation for litigation’s sake, so a law suit was never in the cards for me. I walked away — okay, swam away — with my life, and that was enough for me. But as I start to watch the dollars add up and my productivity go down as a result of these little reminders-by-way-of-debilitating-spasms occur, I must admit, I wonder.
To that end, and to celebrate the fact that FOUR co-workers of mine — spanning early 30-somethings to late 40-somethings are all enduring this same pain together via various recovery methods (or methods that may later require recovery), I thought I’d just shout out a few back pain statistics for fun and for personal vindication. I’m not alone and I am not weak. But yes, Chris had to help me put my pants on this morning. Enough said.
This from the ACA (American Chiropractor’s Association):
- 31 million Americans experience low-back pain at any given time.1
- One-half of all working Americans admit to having back pain symptoms each year.2
- Back pain is one of the most common reasons for missed work. In fact, back pain is the second most common reason for visits to the doctor’s office, outnumbered only by upper-respiratory infections.
- Americans spend at least $50 billion each year on back pain—and that’s just for the more easily identified costs.3
- Experts estimate that as many as 80% of the population will experience a back problem at some time in our lives.4
A few more factoids from our friendly ACA:
- Low back pain is the fifth most common reason for all physician visits in the United States.1,2
- Back pain is the most frequent cause of activity limitation in people younger than 45 years old.3
- Most cases of back pain are mechanical or non-organic—meaning they are not caused by serious conditions, such as inflammatory arthritis, infection, fracture or cancer.
- Low back pain is also very costly: approximately 5 percent of people with back pain disability account for 75 percent of the costs associated with low back pain.5
- One-half of all working Americans admit to having back pain symptoms each year.6
Our friends at PainScholar.org concur:
- It is the most common excuse for activity limitation in people below the age of 45.
- 80% of the world’s population experience Lower Back Pain at least once in their lifetime. Americans tend to complain of it at least once in every three months.
- Lower Back Pain is also the most common reason for people missing work, second only to headache.
- Americans spend 38 to 50 billion dollars every year on treating Lower Back Pain. Over 300,000 operations are conducted annually for the same.
- Neck and Lower Back Operations are the third most common surgery in the United States.
Do chiropractors have an edge? I say yes. Chris says no. Given that my pain and incapacitation worsened after my Tuesday visit this week, we’re at odds on this front. Speaking, yes, but barely. Me, because I’m in pain. Him, because he’s laughing at me. But as long as he continues to help me get dressed? I really don’t care.